Analysts say it may be a while before Iowans see gasoline selling below $2 a gallon again. Triple-A-Iowa spokeswoman Rose White says the petroleum industry is becoming more volatile and it may be weeks before prices settle down.
White says crude oil prices have risen about $10 a barrel in the past month. She says "One of the big reasons why is we had a series of refinery fires and explosions during the last two weeks and it’s starting to see an impact on the inventory levels." White says we can be thankful we don’t have to buy summer blends of gas yet, which are required in Los Angeles, Chicago and St. Louis.
She says "We do, of course, have the option of the ethanol blend, but some states though, there is strong expectations that once again when the summer travel season comes around and they are required to sell the reformulated fuel blends that they’ll certainly see higher prices." White says when the market recovers from the drop in production from those refinery fires, there is another issue that will likely affect the prices at the pump.
She says "The President, of course, had made his announcement earlier in the year that he does want to build up strategic petroleum reserves and it will likely start in March or April of this year which means basically they will be pulling additional crude supply off the marketplace." Prices for unleaded gas are averaging $2.29 a gallon in Iowa, one-cent below the national average.